UK competition regulator investigates PayPal acquisition

Executive Summary

  • The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating PayPal’s acquisition of iZettle.
  • When combined with other statements from the CMA, this may suggest more scrutiny for tech deals going forward.

Details

  • The CMA is investigating PayPal’s $2,2bn acquisition of Swedish firm iZettle in September.
  • iZettle provides mobile credit card terminals to businesses.
  • The CMA is concerned that the deal lessens competition in the UK – potentially resulting in higher prices and/or lower quality service.
  • The CMA said that although iZettle is relatively new (founded in April 2010) it has established a leading position in mobile point of sale devices and was well placed to compete against PayPal in newly developing markets.
  • The deadline for the final decision is 21 May 2019.
  • In September, the CMA’s chief executive said that the decision to clear Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012 may have been “naïve”.
  • Companies are able to pre-clear deals with the CMA.
  • The CMA is able to block transactions – including completed transactions by requiring acquirors to divest parts or all of the acquired business.

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